“NO OPEN BURNING” BAN REMAINS IN EFFECT FOR MONROE COUNTY, BUT SPECIAL BURNING PERMITTED FOR BAHIA HONDA STATE PARK & DEBRIS MANAGEMENT SITES

MONROE COUNTY, FL – The “No Open Burning Ban” instituted by the Monroe County Board of County Commissioners on Sept. 19, 2017 due to the aftermath of Hurricane Irma remains in effect.

However, due to special circumstances, “Open Burning” is being permitted to occur within the jurisdiction and authority of the Florida Department of Environmental Protection at Bahia Honda State Park.

The park sustained major destruction of its vegetation and structures. Most of the road along Sand Spur Beach was heavily damaged. The picnic structures and bathrooms were annihilated. Foundations were moved several yards from their original locations.

The park has an overwhelming amount of vegetative debris, which includes poison wood and other potentially hazardous native and non-native vegetation. FDEP requires special permitting for transportation of hazardous vegetation out of the county. The cost is prohibitive and thus the special permitting has not been approved.

This week, Florida Forest Service Mitigation Specialist Scott Peterich and Monroe County Deputy Fire Marshal Craig Marston visited and reviewed the selected site for “Open Burning” at Bahia Honda State Park. All of the required elements for fire safety are currently met.  It is anticipated that sometime next week, FDEP will begin “Open Burning” at the park.

Peterich and Marston also have visited Temporary Debris Management Sites (TDMS) from Ramrod Key to Rockland Key, which are receiving debris from unincorporated Monroe County. The Florida Forest Service continues to monitor the amount of vegetative materials and its moisture content throughout Monroe County.

With the large amounts of vegetative debris collected and mixtures of poisonous vegetation present, “Air Curtain Incineration” is proposed to begin the week of Oct. 16 at some of the debris management sites.

This is a specialized method of incinerating materials that requires the operators of the air curtains to be “Certified Burners” from the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services – Florida Forest Service.

“All of the required elements for fire safety are currently met,” Marston said.

Certified Operators are required to receive daily approval from Florida Fire Service, Forest Area Supervisor before any air curtain incineration can take place.

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